China’s Dalian Wanda Group has taken an equity stake in The Weinstein Company’s “Lion” and plans to distribute the Oscar-nominated film in China, TheWrap has learned.
Wanda and TWC previously collaborated on Antoine Fuqua’s “Southpaw” in 2014, which the Chinese company co-produced.
With the deal, TWC gets Chinese distribution for the film — turbocharged with the backing of Wanda, which is the country’s biggest cinema chain operator and hasn’t been afraid to exercise that power. Wanda-backed “Warcraft” opened on 67 percent of the country’s available screens last summer.
However, TWC is giving up a valuable piece of equity in such a highly profitable movie like “Lion,” especially at this late stage where there is little risk. “Lion” has earned $77 million worldwide on an estimated budget under $20 million, and received generous tax credits in Australia.
Wanda also bought the Chinese distribution rights to Benedict Cumberbatch’s “The Current War,” directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. The film also stars Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse, with Cumberbatch playing Thomas Edison in a film about how electricity came to American households. TWC did not comment on this portion of the deal.
“The Current War” is set for a release in the United States this year.
Wanda had no comment regarding the deal.